Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 21
India and China on Sunday announced successful completion of disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Lake area and termed it as a significant ‘step forward’.
“This provided a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC in Western Sector,” a joint statement issued on Sunday evening said.
‘Western Sector’ is a reference to Eastern Ladakh in India-China talks.
The statement was issued after senior military commanders of the two sides conducted a marathon 16-hour meeting to discuss the issue of disengagement of troops from flashpoints of Gogra and Hot Springs, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.
The meeting which commenced at 10 am on Saturday at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC ended at 2 am on Sunday.
The Indian statement said the two sides “had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on other issues along the LAC in the Western Sector”.
The statement laid out what was expected over the next steps. “It was agreed to continue communication and dialogue, stabilise and control the situation on the ground, push for a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues in a steady and orderly manner, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” the statement said.
Sources said the next step of pulling back troops from Gogra and Hot Springs was on the agenda and it was the centre point of discussion between the two sides.
The two commanders were supposed to verify their respective troop positions on both banks of the Pangong Tso, a 135 km glacial-melt lake, to ensure that the disengagement was as per schedule and plan.
Points of discussion about Gogra and Hot Springs will be conveyed back to respective headquarters for further directions.
The issue of Depsang will be discussed at further meetings. Both the armies have been stopping each other’s patrols at specific points along the LAC at Depsang, a 900 sq km plateau at an altitude of 16,000 feet.
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